Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 11, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

TEN COMMANDMENTS....I caught a few minutes of The Ten Commandments last night. Marian thought the production values were cheap, but I had a different complaint: "Why did they cast a guy as Moses who looks like Jesus?" Marian: "Yeah, that was the first thing I thought too."

OK, so why did they choose to make their Moses look exactly the way Jesus is typically portrayed? Marian and I both noticed the resemblance instantly, so we must not be the only ones. What's the deal?

And speaking of television, how about 24, huh? Regular readers know that my favorite character this season is President Charles Logan, so I'm glad to see that they've decided to transform him from a mouse to the ultimate in insider bad guys. They sure do plow through presidents in a hurry on that show, though, don't they?

And $40 million for the next three seasons? Nice work, Kiefer.

Kevin Drum 2:09 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Comments

So it looks like Jack will live, or Keifer will plays Jack's long lost twin brother, Dave.

Why cast Moses to look like Jesus? Jesus SELLS baby!

Posted by: TomStewart on April 11, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I seriously doubt this was the reasoning, but the New Testament does say (in Romans, I think - don't have my Bible handy) that Moses was a type of Christ - leading his people out of bondage to the promised land.

(Paul also refers to the Red Sea crossing as a "baptism," and calls the Israelites "the congregation.")

I didn't see the show, but from what I saw in the commercials it looks as if Moses was the one speaking boldly to Pharaoh - when in fact the Bible says Aaron actually did the talking.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 11, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

OK, so why did they choose to make their Moses look exactly the way Jesus is typically portrayed?

Because otherwise he'd look a little too Jewish....?

Honestly, I'd never caught that resemblance, because while Jesus is usually portrayed with straight hair, Charlton Heston's is a bit wavy.

Posted by: Stefan on April 11, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't everyone back then look like Jesus?

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on April 11, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Ask 100 people "How many of each species of animal did Moses take on the ark" and very few will get it right.

Moses - Jesus, they're all just olden day dudes with beards right?

Posted by: Tripp on April 11, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile in the reality show known as DC...

The rodent known as Joe Lieberman emerged from his hole... sniffed the air for a prevailing wind...and then went back underground for 6 more weeks of namby-pamby whiffle-waffling.


Posted by: koreyel on April 11, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone knows that Moses looks older than Jesus. His beard is long and gray, and a bit unruly. He has a slightly wild look in his eye -- probably from those intense conversations with the burning bush.

Posted by: CornCrib on April 11, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus or Moses could have looked like Popeye for all we know - so what's the big deal.

Posted by: nonheroicvet on April 11, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Why do ancient Israelites, or for that matter every ancient culture on film, speak in a British accent?

Posted by: David Weigel on April 11, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, they made him look like Michelangelo's version of Moses:

http://english.ncu.edu.tw/susanna/images/re/art02/12.JPG

Minus the famous horns. In a Latin transcription of the Bible, the misspelled 'corona' (halo) as 'corna' (horn). So instead of Moses once having a glow, he had horns. This appears in many older images of Moses.

So the western tradition's image of Jesus and Moses both look like idealized Renaissance Italians. Heston was just an American update of that image.

I suspect both Moses and Jesus looked Jewish...

Posted by: Gene Ha on April 11, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I always thought Moses had a strong resemblance to Charlton Heston myself.

Posted by: toast on April 11, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Gene, from the Charleton Heston wiki:

But the muscular, 6'3", square jawed Heston became an icon by portraying Moses in The Ten Commandments, a part he was chosen for reportedly because director Cecil B. DeMille thought that he bore an uncanny resemblance to the statue of Moses by Michaelangelo

chicken-egg-chicken

Posted by: toast on April 11, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Nice work," indeed. I'm pretty sure he's the only star to ink a $40 million dollar deal for three days' work.

Posted by: Daniel A. Munz on April 11, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Why did they cast a guy as Moses who looks like Jesus?" Marian: "Yeah, that was the first thing I thought too."

So tell me, what does "Jesus" look like EXACTLY?

Posted by: im1dc on April 11, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of us missed the miniseries reference. I think an ABC producer saw Dougary in Mission Impossible II and couldn't stop thinking about Exodus through all the action scenes. Should have brought John Woo on board for the miniseries too.

Posted by: B on April 11, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

I still think the best movie portrayal of Jesus was in Ben-Hur, where they never actually showed his face.

Posted by: Peter on April 11, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Considering how many times Jack Bauer gets shot, stabbed, beaten, drugged, etc., perhaps they should rename 24 as The Passion of the Spy.

Posted by: Bruce A. on April 11, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Aw, you mean Keifer LIVES through this season, I would have never guessed! Didn't watch 10C just 'cause I figured it couldn't hold a candle to the original and the trailers looked weak. 24 rules though in my book, love it though it's a bit over the top a bit too often.

Posted by: Doh! on April 11, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Best line in 10 Commandments? The delicious siren, Anne Baxter, lubricating across the floor while cooing throatily, "Moses, Moses--you stubborn, splendid, adorable fool!'

That is some good camp!

Posted by: jp on April 11, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Why did they cast Moses to look like Jesus?

To begin with, they can do whatever they want, bcause neither of them ever existed--so the field is open.

That said, the reason Moses needs to look like Jesus is thinking about it backwards. The christian right needs to have Jesus be more like Moses, and God to be more like the god that rained death down on the Egyptians. The Sermon-on-the-Mount Jesus just won't do--the viewer needs a burning Bush, a retributive maniac God to send plagues on the Brown People and post the ten commandments on courthouse walls. Then, in Righteous Wrath, they can go after the women and their uteri.

Posted by: jim on April 11, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK
I didn't see the show, but from what I saw in the commercials it looks as if Moses was the one speaking boldly to Pharaoh - when in fact the Bible says Aaron actually did the talking.

IIRC, both the 1956 Ten Commandments and The Prince of Egypt made this alteration as well; arguably, in a cinematic rather than literary setting, reducing the number of focal characters makes it easier to follow what's going on.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

24 - Best comedy on tv.

Posted by: Goof Beyou on April 11, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I flipped back and forth between 24 and 10 Comm. Three observations: What's up with that image of a nuclear mushroom superimposed on the sea during the parting of the Red Sea? And it seemed like I was watching 10 Comm. inbetween the commerical breaks - there were so many commercials. And last, if your show has the production value of a high school play, then just cast British actors.. instant credibility, right? BTW, Aaron was shown with Moses.. speaking bold together..

Posted by: Andy on April 11, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

So kevin, you and yours are among the tribe who feels that Jesus most resembles a guitar layer from Austin?

Posted by: Keith G on April 11, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: And speaking of television ...

Speaking of television, it totally sucks.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 11, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

For that matter, why did they cast Edward G. Robinson as Pharoah's henchman?

Posted by: m. thompson on April 11, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp

Sure, not many will get it right. Coz, you see, it was Noah who took them on the ark.

/unless, of course, you were being sarcastic

Posted by: kmramki on April 11, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

"The delicious siren, Anne Baxter, lubricating across the floor while cooing throatily, "Moses, Moses--you stubborn, splendid, adorable fool!'"

From which part of her anatomy was the lubicrant coming, exactly?

Posted by: e1 on April 11, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

No No No

Jesus = Long straight hair + Beard

Moses = Long WAVY hair + Beard

You godless libs know nothing!

Posted by: Dustin Ridgeway on April 12, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm...

Did they show the part where Moses and his tribal allies went through the camp and butchered all the men and boys from rival clans? (convienently leaving the women for themselves)

One of the things Christians typically leave out of the narritive.

Posted by: Buford on April 12, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

kmraki,

/unless, of course, you were being sarcastic

No, not sarcasm. It's just one of those questions that shows that what a person hears is largely influenced by context. We hear what we expect to hear.

Kinda like "Take 2 apples from 5 apples. How many do you have?"

It's good for a chuckle, especially among church people.

Posted by: Tripp on April 12, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

speaking of Moses, anyone hear that Gwenyth Paltrow named her son Moses? so now she has kids named Apple and Moses. wow. i was hoping she'd name the boy Cobbler.

Posted by: EM on April 12, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

24 has mostly lost me this season ... I watch, but I'm not sure why. There has just been too much unbelievable stuff, and too many characters that I like were killed off (Edward). Honestly Bauer holding his breath in the poison gas? That eats through rubber? That could be repulsed anyway by just having the rooms be slightly pressurized? And what about Robocop just getting up and leaving after being pumped full of drugs until he died (or something). I've alway appreciated the absurdities but they are wearing on me this time around. There have been great moments (anytime a bad guy said "Now, all we have to take care of is Bauer" or "Jack Bauer will be dead in about 1 minute") but on the whole, not a great season. Give me Beyruz !

Posted by: will on April 12, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Talk about a biblical movie that isn't too biblical! ABC sure missed a lot of the `facts` (see Genesis and Exodus account) with this movie. They even left out information besides getting it wrong. And they said it's based on biblical fact?!. Here's what they got wrong:
- Moses made the people drink the left over golden calf mixed with water - this wasn't shown (Exod. 32:20)
- Sabbath is never mentioned (only `every 7 days`). It's a fact, folks; the Sabbath is not just for Jewish people. You'll notice that `Jews` are not mentioned in Exodus. The Sabbath applies to 'everyone' (Exod. 31:13-15).
- Long hair is an old icon tradition that goes back to around the 12th century. Christ did not have long hair, so it should be assumed Moses didn't either. Moses told his sons not to let their hair grow long (LEV 10:6, 20:1,5-15, 1COR 11:14).

I'm sure there may be countless other misleading story line in the movie.

Posted by: webdude on April 12, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

The short clip of the nuclear mushroom cloud superimposed on someone's dream of the parting of the Red Sea was very bizarre.

A child comes home from Sunday School and the mother asks what they learned. The child says that they learned about the Jews escaping Egypt. They explained that when they came to the Red Sea the military engineers built a pontoon bridge for them to cross. Then a squadron of F-16s came in and blew up the bridge so pharoah's army couldn't follow. The mother looked at the child and asked "Is that really what you heard?". The child hung their head and said "No. But you'd never believe the whopper the teacher told us."

Posted by: JohnK on April 12, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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